Officials from Hilton Worldwide Holdings confirmed a report that immigrant children were being kept in their hotels by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but revealed the contracts have been canceled.
According to The Associated Press, three Hampton Inn & Suites hotels in Arizona and at the Texas-Mexico border were allegedly used by ICE to detain immigrant children as young as one year old before deporting them to their home countries.
The hotels were used nearly 200 times to detain unaccompanied children, a situation lawyers and advocates say could expose them to the risk of trauma. ICE did not confirm that the people taking care of the minors were licensed professionals or have received FBI background checks.
In response, Hilton confirmed reports the independently owned and managed Hampton Inn & Suites in Texas had accepted reservations from a private contractor working for ICE that were used to house migrants as they were transported between locations.
“This is not activity that we support or in any way want associated with our hotels,” a Hilton spokesperson said in a statement.
The hotel company also announced the Hampton Inn & Suites in McAllen, Texas, has canceled its contract with the ICE adjacent organization, will no longer accept similar reservations and banned the minors and chaperones from the property.
Hilton also revealed it has started contacting all Hilton owners and management companies in the United States to reinforce the policies that reject business that would use the properties as detention centers or for detaining individuals.
The company will provide its properties with guidance on identifying and preventing this type of business.
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